Category Archives: PRESS RELEASE

Fiji Health Minister speaks on Climate Change at the Commonwealth Ministers for Health Meeting

Fiji Health Minister speaks on Climate Change at the Commonwealth Ministers for Health Meeting

The Minister for Health & Medical Services Hon. Jone Usamate in his role as Minister and Chair of the Pacific Health Ministers forum was part of the 4 member Ministerial Panel Discussion at the Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting held on Sunday 22nd May 2016 in Geneva.

The Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting was held the day before the opening of the World Health Assembly.

The Hon. Minister spoke passionately on the theme ‘Climate Change and the Pacific’ and he emphasized the fact that climate change was threatening human life in the Pacific.

“Climate Change not only contributes towards major health issues, but it is also destroying the ability of human beings to continue living in many Pacific islands. Some of our islands have already disappeared and many are severely threatened and becoming uninhabitable”, Mr Usamate added.

He highlighted the impact that climate change was having on the Pacific in terms of ocean acidification, rising sea levels, food security, the rising incidences of vector borne diseases, respiratory diseases, psychosocial impacts, and even its impact on the already huge NCD crisis in the Pacific.

Mr Usamate said, “Climate change is affecting the ability of our health systems to respond to the crisis. One severe event can wipe out most of the Health infrastructure in a small Pacific Island nation”.

He informed the meeting of the two category 5 cyclones that had struck the Pacific in 2015 and 2016. This had never happened before. In Fiji’s case, TC Winston affected 41% of the population and destroyed or damaged about 25% of all health facilities.

Mr Usamate shared very strong views on the importance of having access to climate funds, which has remained a challenge for middle-income countries like Fiji who do have access to these climate funds.

“Without access to such funds, Pacific Island countries are hampered in their ability to adapt to the impacts of Climate Change on our health facilities and systems”.

The Hon Minister for Health & Medical Services also thanked all the members of the Commonwealth who helped Fiji during TC Winston, and stressed that the impact of climate change on health in the Pacific. He emphasized that it should be part of the Commonwealth Health Ministers statement to the World Health Assembly.

Fiji has been represented by a three-member team at the World Health Assembly lead by the Minister for Health & Medical Services, Hon. Jone Usamate, National Adviser NCD Dr Isimeli Tukana and the Director Nursing Services, Mrs Silina Waqa Ledua.

World Health Assembly: Pacific Health Ministers maintain a Pacific voice

 World Health Assembly: Pacific Health Ministers maintain a Pacific voice 

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The Minister for Health & Medical Services Hon Jone Usamate chaired a meeting of the Pacific Ministers for Health during the 69th World Health Assembly in Geneva where it was identified that Pacific health leaders must advocate for a strong Pacific voice in the global arena.

“The need for Pacific Health Ministers to continuously present a united front on the issues of NCD and climate change remains paramount as these issues are having a devastating impact on the Pacific. This can be achieved by continuous information sharing amongst Pacific Island Countries”.

The Health Ministers again reiterated their commitment to sharing information to benefit the region in securing solutions and learning off one another in dealing with health issues of mutual concern such as that of NCD, Communicable diseases, Climate Change, HIV/AIDS etc.

“The Ministers agreed that it is crucial for the Pacific to have its issues highlighted on a global front, and the onus remains with our leaders to push our agenda forward”, Mr Usamate added.

There were 25 attendees to this meeting including 11 Pacific Ministers and other country delegates to the World Health Assembly.

The meeting was a success as members were able to deliberate on health issues relevant to the Pacific that were raised at the Guam meeting in October 2015 and they were also provided an update on all the issues they had discussed during their 2015 meeting in Fiji.

They also resolved to make efficient use of opportunities as such of the World Health Assembly or other forums where most Pacific Ministers will be in attendance.

Pacific Health Ministers expressed their appreciation to the chairman for convening this meeting.

Assistant Health Minister commends nurses’ work.

Assistant Health Minister commends nurses’ work.

Assistant Health Minister Mrs Veena Bhatnagar with staff nurses at the CWM hospital

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The Assistant Minister for Health and Medical Services Mrs Veena Bhatnagar commended the nurses for the delivery of timely and efficient services to the people of Fiji and have urged them to continue the good work they are doing.

She congratulated them while opening the 2016 International Nurses Day celebration at the CWM Hospital in Suva.

Mrs Bhatnagar said that nurses are a group of very special professionals in any healthcare system since they make up the largest portion of the health workforce, and their services reach across the broad spectrum of health.

“Nurses can be the cornerstone and stepping stone to improving our health system and service delivery”, she said.

“I applaud each one of you for holding the fort and moving forward, well focused on achieving your goals and your vision and the oath that you have sworn, to uphold what you ought to do”, Mrs Bhatnagar added.

She further said that the resilience showed by the nurses after the TC Winston was another milestone in the service as they continued to deliver despite difficult circumstances.

Director Nursing Services in Fiji Sr Silina Waqa reiterated that the government’s commitment to increase nurse numbers by 200 staff over the next two years is intact, and the total number of nurses in Fiji would exceed well over 3000.

Meanwhile, the celebrations were followed by a symposium as the nurses were refreshed with the call for service delivery.